I have been living in Kenya almost two years, and I finally got an answer to one of my burning questions recently. Another teammate and Jane were having a quick conversation and she asked Jane why it was a sin for Somali women (and all Muslim women) to paint their fingernails.
Jane answered, "When we take ablution we wash our hands, our feet, and our faces so that we can be clean when we pray. If we paint our nails, then the water isn't coming in contact with our fingernails. So we can't be fully clean and God will not accept our prayers."
My mind was blown. I had known it was a sin, but I never understood why. I thought to myself, "Wow. She works so hard every day so that her prayers will be accepted." My heart breaks for her.
My heart breaks for Muslim women everywhere. In Islam, women are unclean when they're on their period. Since they're already unclean and cannot pray, even with washing, Somali women often paint their nails during this time. Whenever I see this, I am reminded that this religion says their very womanhood, the very way God created their physical bodies, is shameful and unclean.
My heart and my fervent prayer is that Somali women will experience the love and truth of Jesus, the Savior and Messiah who gives value to all of his children, regardless of their sex. Please join me in praying for them...
When you paint your fingernails or toenails, remember the Somali women who do not, in hopes of being accepted.
When you pass the Playtex, Always, or DivaCup at Walgreen's, remember the Somali women who cannot pray during their period.
When you go to a beauty salon, remember the Somali women whose beautiful hair is covered by a hijab, but also covered by shame.
Jesus died. Jesus died. Jesus DIED. And his death gives us freedom. Please, Lord, may it give the Somalis freedom as well. May it free Jane.
As you read this, are you burdened for the lost? Do you feel God has placed a call on your life or asked a special assignment of you among a UPG? Maybe you're afraid you don't have the tools you need or know how to adequately share about Him? No matter what your situation may be, say yes. Say yes to Jesus. Just like the disciples, leave your nets and simply follow him. As you say yes in utter obedience, He will open the doors to provide opportunities like this one. He will go before you, softening hearts and tugging at minds, if you will simply say yes.